Edinburgh is Scotland's capital city, and is a fantastic place for anyone with mobility requirements to visit: Easily accessible, with a broad mixture of great things to see and do.
- Cobbled streets are in abundance in Edinburgh, which can make for a bumpy ride for wheelchair users.
- Always have a waterproof jacket handy. The weather at any time of year can turn wet, and it's not much fun sitting in a soggy wheelchair!
- City sightseeing buses are fully accessible to wheelchair users. They are a great way to see lots of attractions and sights in a short space of time.
Places to Visit
There is good access around a number of major sights within the castle, and although the abundance of cobbles makes things uncomfortable, it’s worth it. Things like large print, audio guides, and tactile replicas of the Crown Jewels make the castle inclusive for everyone. The cafe also has accessible picnic benches outside, which have half of the bench missing, enabling a wheelchair user to get right up to the table. The staff are extremely helpful, and will go out of their way to offer assistance. A mobility vehicle is available to transfer those who find steep slopes difficult.
The Scotch Whisky Experience
This attraction honours Scotland's national drink, and visitors with disabilities benefit from lifts and level access throughout. The Whisky Tour is fun and interesting, and includes a tutored tasting of Scotch Whisky at the end. During the tour visitors sit in Barrel cars, and there is one which has been specifically designed for wheelchair users.
The Royal Mile
The Royal Mile isn't easy for people with mobility requirements to visit, with steep slopes and cobbled streets, but it is worth the effort to be at the heart of Scotland's history. Some may find a downhill slope easier, so start from Edinburgh Castle, running down the Royal Mile to Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament.
Princes Street Gardens
Princes Street Gardens is a quiet hideaway, and a great place to relax while enjoying views of the city. Flat access for wheelchair users and people with walking difficulties is from the far side of the gardens via King's Stables Road, while the paths in the gardens themselves are smooth and mostly level.
Royal Yacht Britannia
Follow in the footsteps of Royalty and explore this floating royal residence with a fascinating audio tour of its five decks. Every effort has been made to accommodate disabled visitors, and access for wheelchair users is excellent — with ramps, lifts, and handrails all in place. Britannia was named the UK’s No. 1 Attraction 2014 by TripAdvisor!
Bars and Restaurants
Amber Restaurant at the Scotch Whisky Experience
Traditional Scottish produce paired with whisky flavours and sauces, and a whisky bar which stocks over 300 different single malts, blends and liqueurs — what could be better? The restaurant is accessed via a lift from the Scotch Whiskey Experience, and offers plenty of space for those in wheelchairs.
Howies restaurant is set within a 200-year-old gorgeous Georgian building, and serves excellent local produce at an affordable price. The restaurant is spacious and airy, with plenty of space to manoeuvre a wheelchair, in order to tuck into their great food.
Hard Rock Café
Lettering on the front of the building states 'Love All, Feed All' and the access here means that they really can! The menu features the usual indulgent American-style comfort food that Hard Rock is famous for, along with extravagant cocktails. Access is step-free from street level, and low tables are available, as well as an accessible toilet.
Carrie-Ann Lightley is a traveller, a blogger and and inspiriation for the less mobile traveller. She doesn’t let her Cerebral Palsy slow her down from enjoying the world, near and far. Living with the mantra of ‘there is always a way’ her travel blog provides expertise and inspiration for accessible travel. Visit Carrie-Ann at https://www.carrieannlightley.com.